In my opinion advertising has become the most vital part of running a successful locksmith business.
The game is constantly changing, particularly online advertising which sees directory companies rise and fall in a matter of months, its hard to decide where to concentrate your time and money for the best return on investment.
Im going to give a quick summary of my experiences with a few different forms of advertising and how much impact they have had on my locksmith work.
Directory Books (Yell, Thomson, BT)
The future has never looked so bleak for the physical paper directories. Both Yell (Hibu) and Thomson Local both struggling to keep their heads above water this year.
Ten years ago the success of your locksmith advert in these directories was proportional to the size of advert you could afford.
Nowadays its hard to get noticed amongst the plague of national companies filling the advertising space with the all important AAAAAAAA prefix to ensure a well placed advert.
I have always kept a basic locksmith advert in the directories just to have a presence and usually break even or make a small profit on the adverts... but nothing to shout about.
This year I have ditched them completely and I don't think it will have any impact upon my success.
My directories go straight to the recycle bin. How about yours?
There are a few more choices with regards to advertising your locksmith business in an online directory.
As well as the two aforementioned companies that run the paper directories there are also Yelp, Locksmith Directory UK, MLA directory, Lactartes and other smaller directories that can all achieve a page one presence on Google in some areas.
The success does vary from area to area and while you are always tempted to pay for a premium locksmith listing on these sites you can have just as much success with a well rounded free advert.
Yell and Thomson supply data to Google places and are currently bending the rules to force false data to the top of the maps listings for their clients, you know those locksmith listings that have a false or vague location!? It works at the minute, but this kind of black hat work will inevitably lead to further demise.
Flyers and Door to Door
I have delivered flyers and business cards in all my local areas in the past advertising door repairs and locksmith services and have had some success with it.
Its hard work but good exercise whilst you aren't physically working on locksmith jobs its worth getting out there, park up your van and post some adverts out.
Most will end up in the bin, that goes without saying but some people do tend to hang on to adverts and I have had some decent work as a result of a physically posted advert.
Word of Mouth
In my opinion this is the big one!
People love to talk. People love it even more when they can recommend someone to help a friend or relative!
Ensuring you offer a great locksmith service is key to building a good reputation. Don't rip anybody off, ensure all your work is as good as you can make it, go that extra mile to put a smile on the face of your customer whether it means having a quick look at other doors/windows in the house or knocking a few quid off if they are genuinely struggling to pay the bill.
Recommendation is the hardest advertisement to acquire, it grows over time but once established can bring in a large proportion of your locksmith work. My friend James has been a locksmith for about 20 years and hardly spends a penny advertising these days.
This is why a lot of the national locksmith employees and franchise investors struggle to establish themselves as they are usually the face behind the extortion that nobody will recommend.
Having your own website built and investing in regular work is often more rewarding than advertising on online directories.
Again, it can take longer to establish this and grows with online endorsements form other websites and forums that may recommend your services.
It also requires you to keep up to date with current online trends and social media and if you haven't already got a Facebook and Twitter fan page set up, you need to get on it NOW!
Advertising your locksmith website often involves chasing the Google carrot as the algorithm evolves but with the increase in smartphone users that will now Google a locksmith in an emergency it has never been so important to have your own online presence.
Rick | Cannock Locksmiths